When i was a kid I hated school.
There were two kinds of kids: the ones who had this story of who they were going to be, and they would do it like champions (be it a doctor, an athlete, an artist) and then there was me. Clueless.
I liked a bit of everything.
As I grew up, going to school made living more and more burdensome. Life became a long wait until an unknown day when I would be finally released. Then after 11 years, when I dropped out of school and took an exam to get my diploma early, I wish I had done it sooner.
I wish I could build a school for lost souls like myself. A school which would allow people like myself to develop some questions, some hunger, some excitement and then be able to run with it.
Instead, there I was; begging my mother or father at 9pm to please tell me the answer to the math homework... While they wanted me to take the long way and learn it, I just wanted to finish before I fell asleep on my homework, in the fear of being slapped by the math teacher the next morning. I couldn't see why I should learn any of this besides not being punished.
Sure those days are over where you could get a slapping, but the structure is the same in a much more subtle and illusive way, which makes it even more dangerous.
As far as I know, schooling in most countries (except the few) is about stacking dry knowledge into the kids' brains, without them ever knowing why they have to learn it. At the end, they get to University, and then a career advisor tells them what major is best to study for their future job security, and off they go. As if the sole purpose of life is work.
well fuck that.
The reality is that these methods aren't holding up much longer as new technologies and robots take more and more of the jobs and do a much better job at it. Ask the data processors, the door to door sales workers, assembly workers and all sorts of clerks and operators about why they are now jobless and incapable of getting employed.
I think its finally the end of the traditional school as we know it.
And perhaps a new beginning for an education that finally does what it was meant to do in the first place: an education that allows us to play. An education that engages us and causes us to want to know more, and one that finally helps us to live freely and fully.
Lets call it an education for the free. The independent.
versus the education for the future employee.
It's funny, when I say "an education that allows us to play" people think of it as hippy dippy nonsense. The reality, however, is that many are beginning to realize its huge importance.
Here is the situation; As we speak, more and more computers are doing the classic bread and butter jobs of the past and present I mentioned before. What will remain will be the fringe activities. The weird jobs. The odd creative, unique, genius, humane activities that remain...the passion projects.
By 2030 over 800 million jobs could be replaced by machines. Jack Ma (the founder of Alibaba, and a pretty influential dude) explains the situation in very simple terms:
"Education is a big challenge now. if we do not change how we teach, in 30 years we will be in trouble. Because the way we teach, the things we teach our kids, are the things from the past 200 years: It is knowledge based... and we cannot teach our kids to compete with machines, they are smarter.
Teachers should stop teaching knowledge. We have to teach something unique, so that a machine can never catch up with us. These are the soft skills we need to be teaching our children: values, believing, independent thinking, teamwork, care for others...these are the soft parts. But Knowledge will not teach you that. That's why we need to teach our kids creativity... everything we teach should be different from what machines can do..."
But again, we are talking about jobs. I don't even want to push his ideas forward because it's again about jobs. As if your whole mission in life is to get a job. I want to push forward the genius in each human being. The unique combination of things a human is. The little intricacies that gives each human being a reason to live. A reason to feel like an active and contributing part of this human community. And how, education can support that to be realized.